Wednesday 21 February 2018

Ryanair share buy-back helps to lift the ISEQ

IRISH shares increased in line with the major European stocks yesterday afternoon on the back of a share buy-back by Ryanair and solid results from packaging giant Smurfit Kappa.

By lunchtime in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was up 1.28pc or 56.31 points to 4453.41.

It was a similar picture across much of Europe, with stocks climbing to a five-year high as companies from Alstom to ING Group reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

US index futures and Asian shares also rose.

The leaders in Dublin included Ryanair, which partially recovered from its slump earlier in the week, boosted by a ruling from a Belgian court which dismissed a case taken by it a former staff member against the airline.

It also announced at lunchtime that it bought back 10 million shares at €5.75 per share.

By early afternoon its share price was up 2.8pc to €5.74, helping recover from the slump of as much as 12pc earlier in the week that came on the back of a profit warning.

Providence Resources was up 2.1pc to €3.65 after BlackRock Investment Management (UK) increased its stake to 6.4pc.

Smurfit Kappa rose 2.2pc to €18.40 after it reported an 8pc increase in revenues to €5.9bn in the first nine months of the year.

Pre-tax profits for the same period were down 19pc to €231m with some weakness in the the European market.

Shares in insulation group Kingspan were up 1.9pc to €13.20 and speciality baker Aryzta's saw its stock increase by 1.9pc to €55 a share.

On the other side of the board, fruit company Fyffes was down 1pc to 80c and shipping company Irish Continental fell 0.9pc to €25.40.

Bookmakers Paddy Power was down 0.4pc by early afternoon to €60.60 and drinks giant C&C had lost 0.3pc to €4.40.

In Europe, The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.6pc to 323.76 at 11.14am in London, its highest level since May 2008.

The UK's FTSE 100 had added 0.02pc, France's CAC40 WAS UP 0.86PC and Germany's DAX index was up 0.39pc.

"As long as the macro improvement remains, investors will continue to expect a rebound in corporate earnings," said Dirk Thiels, head of investment management at KBC Asset Management in Brussels.

"The strong rally we've had in Europe shows the market is pricing in earnings upgrades.

"Even if earnings growth may lag the economy this season, we are willing to wait another quarter to see evidence of a turnaround."

Irish Independent

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